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Old 01-19-06, 03:50 AM   #1
jcm
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Sears - Austrian bikes?

Does anyone know about those old Sears imports from Austria? I found one at a local thrift store for $10 that is actually in pretty decent shape. It's a 10speed and I would say circa 1970 to 1975 by the style of labeling. Who made those things? Daimler-Puch? Specifically, are the frames any good? How about the Sugino cranks. The guts are Suntour and I've read here that cheaper bikes came with those. Weinmann brakes are alloy if that makes a difference. Stem and bars are alloy. Rims are steel but it's fairly light - lighter than the Schwinn Varsity next to it. I'm mostly interested in the frame. Thanks.
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Old 01-19-06, 03:54 AM   #2
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Yes, Daimler-Puch. I've seen a couple of threads from several months ago that had quite a bit of discussion. I heard that at least some of the frames were made of Reynolds 531. I don't know any more than that though.
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Old 01-19-06, 04:04 AM   #3
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Yes, Daimler-Puch. I've seen a couple of threads from several months ago that had quite a bit of discussion. I heard that at least some of the frames were made of Reynolds 531. I don't know any more than that though.

Interesting. I suppose for $10 I can't get hurt unless I fall off.

I'm sort of looking for a project. This might fit the bill - and the budget. A conversion..... that's it, a conversion project. But, to what? A single speed? Nah, I'm way too weak for that! Do you think a Nexus 7-speed would work?
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Old 01-19-06, 08:33 AM   #4
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A friend had a Sears Austrian made 3-speed (Sachs Torpedo hub) from the 70's that was a pretty decent bike of its kind. They appear to be made by Puch. Around my town most of the Sears 10-speeds were made in the US by the likes of Murray or Columbia, and were junk. We did notice a few Austrian made 10-speeds, but these were rarer and were certainly not at the Reynolds 531 level.
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Old 01-19-06, 11:26 AM   #5
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Thank you all. I'm pretty sure this is a low end bike because of the cheaper components. What the heck, I might just buy it for the tinker factor. I need to start getting greasy on something other than English 3-speeds, which I know little of except I like 'em .
This seems like a great place to gather some knowledge.
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Old 01-19-06, 03:39 PM   #6
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Had a Sears 10 speed Free Spirit bought in 1970 or 71 that had a lugged frame & was made in Austria. Used my tax return. Got me around campus just fine. Do not remember the components group but it was very dependable. Do not agree with poster that most were made in USA. Recently saw one in my neighbors trash that was also made in Austria. Fished it out and will make someone a nice single speed.
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Old 01-19-06, 04:17 PM   #7
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If you're $10 bike look like this one, you got one hell of a deal!

http://www.craigslist.org/sfc/bik/126712708.html
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Old 01-19-06, 09:12 PM   #8
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I recall seeing a 60's vintage Sears 10 speed that had Reynolds tubing. It was a recent listing on Ebay or somewhere else. That one was a total shock to me. I think it was made around 1963-64
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Old 01-20-06, 12:07 AM   #9
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I've had a couple pass through my hands. One wore the Sears brand and the other wore the J.C. Higgins brand on the headtube, but both were stamped "Made in Austria" on the rear stays. Let's see......alloy bars, Weinmann center pulls, steel cottered cranks, decent looking frames, UGLY colors. And the two chainrings were only a few teeth different, Very tall gears. the Sears had really cool "humped" drops (wish I'd kept those), and both wore Simplex running gear.

I paid $2.50 for the plum colored one, and the thrift store actually gave me the orange one for free - they were gonna toss it in the dumpster.

Sears Puch:


J.C. Higgins Puch:
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Old 01-20-06, 02:58 AM   #10
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If you're $10 bike look like this one, you got one hell of a deal!

http://www.craigslist.org/sfc/bik/126712708.html
No such luck. That is a beautiful bicycle. The one I'm looking at is definitely a thrasher quality bike.
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Old 01-20-06, 03:06 AM   #11
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I've had a couple pass through my hands. One wore the Sears brand and the other wore the J.C. Higgins brand on the headtube, but both were stamped "Made in Austria" on the rear stays. Let's see......alloy bars, Weinmann center pulls, steel cottered cranks, decent looking frames, UGLY colors. And the two chainrings were only a few teeth different, Very tall gears. the Sears had really cool "humped" drops (wish I'd kept those), and both wore Simplex running gear.

I paid $2.50 for the plum colored one, and the thrift store actually gave me the orange one for free - they were gonna toss it in the dumpster.

Sears Puch:


J.C. Higgins Puch:
Similar to both bikes. The forks on the orange one look right, as do the lugs. Head badge is like the plum one. It has the wing nuts. Sugino cranks, though. Must be an after-thought. Shifters and cables are balky. Sun Tour guts are clearly out of wack. Light blue metalic is in very nice shape - hardly a scratch.

Ok, that does it. For $10 I can give it some love.
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Old 01-20-06, 03:39 AM   #12
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You've definitely got the makings of something. I cleaned up that orange Higgins for bossman, and rode it some in the process. It was for sure a quality frame in its day -- light, real nice ride quality. The fork crown casting is a real piece of art.
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Old 01-20-06, 10:49 AM   #13
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i commuted (in graz, where they made them) on an old puch for 2 years. i even made it to slovenia and back in a day, and went mountain biking on the poor old thing. there are lots of puch bikes around still, adn tehy seem to be pretty tough. for $10?! i would

mine clubman cost €50, my prima £20. what model is the one you are looking at?
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Old 01-20-06, 11:10 AM   #14
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The cool thing about the "Made-In-Austria" bikes sold by Sears, Pennys, and perhaps Wards, was that any teenager in 1965 or 1970 could order from their catalogs. In 1970, outside of big cities and college towns, many folks had never seen a ten speed bike. And, in a small town in 1970, the local store most likely only sold Schwinns, which were expensive relative to a teen's income.

So, a fourteen year old kid, who was $20 short of being able to afford a Schwinn Varsity could order a ten-speed bike from the Sears catalog. Hopefully, the kid was good with a wrench, because in a "one traffic light" village, he might be the only guy on a ten speed bike.

John Howard, America's outstanding cyclist of the 1975 to 1985 era wrote about growing up in a small town in Missouri where a ten speed bike was a rare and exotic beast. Sears put a ten-speed in reach of any guy with $50 or $75 in his pocket, including a guy living in small town Missouri.

It is a shame today that that same kid in a small town has two choices. He can drive a hundred miles to a Trek dealer, and pay $600 for an entry level road bike. Or, he can go five miles to Wal-Mart and pay $75 for a hunk of Chino-crap. The affordable, reliable road bikes sold by Sears no longer exist. If someone wants a well-made, reliable $200 road bike and they live in a small town, they gotta be hitting the yard sales.
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Old 01-20-06, 11:14 AM   #15
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i commuted (in graz, where they made them) on an old puch for 2 years. i even made it to slovenia and back in a day, and went mountain biking on the poor old thing. there are lots of puch bikes around still, adn tehy seem to be pretty tough. for $10?! i would

mine clubman cost €50, my prima £20. what model is the one you are looking at?
dave
Graz? Ausgezeichnet! Sorry, but any chance to use my schlechtes Deutsch will be exploited. I have quite a lot of family in and around Vienna on my mother's side. I enjoyed Graz very much while there. That explains my new-found interest in Austrian bikes.

I'm going to ride back to the thrift store today and buy the thing - and to try out my new Sorel rain pants. As for a model, I'll see if there is a designation somewhere on the frame. Like I said, the drive train seems pretty tacky but with some quality alloy stuff elsewhere. Anyone have a clue as to those Sugino cranks? Seems very un-Sears for the time and I know nah-ting. Do you suppose somebody actually banged those cottered jobs off? I've never even had to think about it on my 3-speeds.

Was denken Sie das?
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Old 01-20-06, 11:37 AM   #16
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Alanbikehouston: I had a similar conversation with a guy yesterday who was asking me about getting into cycling. He was on his way to Wally's World to save some money on a "real nice bike". I told him to save his cash for a garage sale and get something for the same price that he would actually enjoy riding. I'll be keeping an eye on him...

Well, it's out the door for a spin to Lynnwood. I gotta thrasher to buy. Thanks all!
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Old 01-20-06, 01:31 PM   #17
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I'm going to ride back to the thrift store today and buy the thing.....
Bet it's gone when you get there......
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Old 01-20-06, 03:00 PM   #18
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I was one of those kids in a small town. I was ready to send in my money to Sears but my dad had a friend that had a small bike shop. My dad didn't know much about bikes but he knew that Department Store bikes were usually Huffy junk, so he was trying to look out for me. I ended up buying a Kabuki at the bike shop, but one of my friends bought the same Sears bike that I was looking at. I never regretted buying the Kabuki, but the Sears bike was pretty good, too.
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Old 01-20-06, 06:24 PM   #19
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Alanbikehouston: I had a similar conversation with a guy yesterday who was asking me about getting into cycling. He was on his way to Wally's World to save some money on a "real nice bike". I told him to save his cash for a garage sale and get something for the same price that he would actually enjoy riding. I'll be keeping an eye on him...

Well, it's out the door for a spin to Lynnwood. I gotta thrasher to buy. Thanks all!
I want to scream and throw things whenever someone tells me they would be happy with a Wal Mart bike. Maybe they are put in a trance by the colors or something, because around here, the only people who ride them regularly are illegal aliens.

Of course, someone who would buy a Wal Mart bike would likely buy their tools there, too. You can't reason with such people.
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Old 01-20-06, 06:57 PM   #20
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Of course, someone who would buy a Wal Mart bike would likely buy their tools there, too. You can't reason with such people.
Hey - watch what you're saying!

I use Wal-Mart tools, I find their wrenches particularly useful...as hammers. That is, until they shatter.

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Old 01-22-06, 03:45 PM   #21
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Well, I went to buy that Sears-Austrian and took another look at it - alot closer. It seems to have a slight bend in the down tube with a bit of a wrinkle on the under side. Possible head-on. I'll pass. Thank you all again for the education.
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